Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 13: 24-43

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
The Parable of the Mustered Seed and Leaven

The
Parable of the Mustered Seed and Leaven

General Idea: These parables are explaining what the opposition is to the Kingdom of God in the form of a metaphor. They use basic language and objects from the people's everyday life. That they can easily grasp and relate too. Christ is telling then and us, is your faith real? Is your faith authentic, if not you are a fake a counterfeit that will be pulled up and thrown out. Yet, to be real in faith is to have mastery and majesty at our call, we may not be able to literally say to a mountain to jump into the sea, but in eternal manners and relationships, substances that are really important, we can do amazing things! Having power over material things makes a good show but is of no use to what is really important, our focus needs to be on Christ as our Gardner and not the weeds of the world!    

God's Word has life and power, we must have the willingness to see His grace and apply it to our lives by faith, so we can grow and be used of Him for His glory! When He is the Gardener our life has purpose and meaning, He may plant you where you do not see the soil; nevertheless, it is there, make sure your roots are strong enough to break through the harshness of life to His nutrients that are available and abound. God calls us to be real and pull up the fakes!  

1.      A man who, this is a picture of the "everyman," the person on the street who is faithfully serving the Lord. Even though only the wealthy owned the land or it was occupied by the Romans most of the people were the workers and their families. These people were peasants and some were slaves.

a.      Peasants were like the blue color worker who owes to the company store, literally, except much poorer. They had little wages enough to survive on but and not enough to break free and go on their own.

b.      Slaves were indentured and could be bought and sold. A slave in Greek times was totally at the master's disposal and even expendable. Jesus message about toll and obedience would hit home with them since they new what it means to be in total surrendered devotion. This is the theme for us in Christ that the disciple of the Lord has a will that has been sacrificed to God's will and thus is totally at the disposal of our Lord (Gal. 1:15; 2:20)!  A peasant could leave; however they had nowhere to go usually. Both of these groups would know full well what Jesus was teaching.

c.      This parable does not mean the Kingdom of God is a man, "like" refers to analogy.

d.      The field, refers to the worlds. Some have said it is only the Church; however the syntax and cultural considerations clearly refer to everything in the universe.

e.      Wheat was the primary staple for bread which was the main food.

f.        Slept, God is in control, but we still have responsibility to be diligent and do all we can to prevent and stop false doctrines and dysfunctions in His Church (2 Peter 2; I John 4:1-6). We cannot afford to go to sleep at the help of His precious Church and allow the enemy to come in. To may churches have done this, in fact I would say most have!

g.      Good seed, refers to the Christians who have taken His Word with trust and obedience who are the on good ground and yielding.

                                                  i.      Literally as seed means seed that only had wheat seeds and all of the other seeds were removed. It was more expensive but required less labor.

                                                ii.      Our worth is immeasurable in Christ (John 12:23-26).

h.      Tares or weeds refers to a species of rye that is poisonous it looks like wheat in the early stages but you can't tell until it is too late and your crop is ruined. Its roots impact and destroy and cannot be uprooted without uprooting the wheat as well. So the reapers would wait and just before they bud they can cut the bud and prevent the weed from maturing. If its gains get mixed up the bread will make you sick. Just like how toxic people invade our lives and cause worry and strife. Yes, our hope is that God is still in control even when we are tangled in someone else's mess. If God uprooted all things and people who cause us ill we would not have opportunities to grow and become mature and faithful. Our spiritual roots would be to shallow and we would be quickly uprooted by and wind of problem. God will cut the weeds the problems in His right and proper time before it matures and strangles us.

i.        Time of harvest is God's judgment and the reward of elect-His children who by faith are saved. We may be surprise to find out who were the tares in His Church.

j.         The enemy refers to counterfeit Christians (2 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 1:6-9) who speak false doctrine and have tainted hearts (Rom. 10:1-3; Rev. 29). How can we take comfort in this? Because Satan cannot uproot us, he has to instigate others to try to uproot us. He will even provide a counterfeit Christ (2 Thess. 2:1-12) but we will still prevail by Christ's work.  

2.      Mustard seed in Palestine refers to an insignificant small seed that produces a large 10+ foot tree like bush. It is one of the main spices. For us this means things look small and we may overlook how God is working, yet He is there and by faith we too can grow large to produce great results and be a blessing.

a.      Just think, Jesus is telling this to slaves and peasants under occupation from one the greatest and most brutal powers in history, Rome. And tells them His Kingdome is greater! What a great picture of His comfort!

b.      Some liberal scholars use this passage to refute Jesus' omniscience because the orchid and fern seed is smaller; however that would have made no since to His hears who never seen an orchid or fern and by the way the fern has no seeds they are called spores!

c.      Birds nesting, a picture of Israel as the tress and how the gentiles will be grafted in to the covenant resting in the Messiah's branches (Dan. 4: 10-12; Eze. 17:23).  

3.      Leaven is yeast and would be mixed in the flour and water and baked to make bread. As with cities today baking was a profession and you obtain your bread from the bakery, since ovens were expense and the practicality of laboring in the field which women did too and making bread which is an all day event of gathering, milling, kneading, and baking would be most difficult. But some people pooled their resources and had a community oven and took turns making and proving bread for their community.

a.      It only takes a very small piece of yeast for a large amount of flour.

b.      Three measures of flour is about a bushel and would make enough bread for over one hundred people.

c.      Leaven is also a symbol for evil as a little evil can do a lot of damage!

d.      Jesus shows His concern for the entire world not just Israel.

e.      Parables disclose and close. Sometimes their meaning is not apparent or literal and takes prayer understanding and thought. They also reveal truth to those who listen and conceal truth from those who refuse to hear. We have to be open and available for His Word to impact us (Psalm 72:1-6). (For more info read the last study on Parables from Matthew 13:1-23)

f.        Jesus quotes from Psalm 78:2.  

4.      Explain to us, Jesus was teaching farmers and most of His disciples were fisherman, perhaps they did not understand the metaphors, maybe they were not listening, perhaps their hearts and minds were closed off.

a.      There are times people will not care or listen to us or God. We are still responsible to proceed with maturity, tact and love to proclaim His Word. We are not responsible how people take it or treat us, we are only responsible to trust and obey.

                                                  i.      Even when you feel like a failure, He is still there loving us and our efforts are never a waist when we are in Him! He is in control His timing is sovereign.

                                                ii.      God supplies the seed, we cast them, and He germinates them. Sometime later a seed you sowed may germinate, you never know!

b.      Harvest, is a symbol to the End Times (Ezra. 4:30-32; Isa. 32:13-15; Jer. 31:27-28; Hos. 2:21-23; 6:1).

c.      Gather out / weed out refers to Christ's divine authority over the final judgment when all those who refused to accept His grace will be cast off into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).

                                                  i.      Weeds are the reprobates (Rom. 1) who refused Christ and took themselves or Satan as their lead.

                                                ii.      The wheat is His chosen people who by faith accepted Him and He was their lead.

d.      Shine, all of our efforts even though sometimes we cannot see them will shine forth in eternity, so have faith and confidence in His Kingdom!

e.      Furnace, is Hell (Mark 9:43-48; Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:10-15) which is the final place for all those who rejected God. It is the final condemnation and judgment. God does not sentence people there, we send ourselves there (Eze. 33:11; John 3:18-21; Rom. 1:18-32; 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:9-11)! God is willing and able to save us from Hell, but are we willing to accept His love and free gift, strange as it may be most people refuse (Matt. 5:29-30)!  

        God is faithful and He chooses to save us (elects) even though we do not earn it or deserve it. He does this not by foreknowledge even though He has it, rather according to His purpose (Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9-10). But, God does not force Himself upon us, His grace is offered, we have to accept it by faith alone which requires the precepts of these parables, which is a willingness to listen, the ability to practice real authentic faith, to be willing to trust Him regardless of our circumstances and our surrendered obedience. With these precepts we can seize the knowledge that Christ will prevail greatly with a minute for the vastness of His glory. We are the minute as our abilities and qualifications fall short and would be impossible to do anything grand, but in Him we can!  

       Sometimes God has to get our attention though adversity, sometimes we have a willingness to listen. He has to break our pride and misplaced priorities. The key Jesus uses is He explain to us is how we are able to receive Him. Are we are able and willing to understand? Sometimes that may not be until eternity as it was with Job. Our key is to trust and know He is in control and He will be there with us carrying us through. It is not about understanding ourselves, rather it is understanding Him. Ask Him to show you His deep hidden treasures but also be willing to listen and grow. 
 

Questions:  

1.      Do you like to tell stories? If so what about? Do you like to hear stories? If so what kind?

 

2.      What do you think are the causes and motivations behind those who are in opposition to the Kingdom of God?

 

3.      Is your faith real? Is your faith authentic? How can you tell?

 

4.      Do you believe that having power over material things could be important? Why or why not?

 

5.      Have you ever felt that God has planted you where you do not see the soil? What were the circumstances and why did you feel that way?

 

6.      Why do you suppose Jesus went to the "everyman" and not concentrate on the leaders and wealthy?

 

7.      How would you felt if you were a slave and were there hearing Jesus' message? Would you feel comfortable? Comforted? How would you have responded?

 

8.      How would you explain the key words of Wheat, Good seed, enemy and Tares? What is in your life right now that these words could represent?

 

9.      Do you have more confidence in your faith and Christ's work knowing that Satan cannot uproot you; He has to instigate others too?

 

10.  When have things looked small and you overlooked how God is working?

 

11. How can you know for certain that He is there and by faith we too can grow large to produce great results and be a blessing?

 

12. Have you struggled with the meaning of a Bible passage or something going on in your life that is difficult and you do not see the reason or purpose for it? How and why? What can you do?

 

13. It only takes a very small piece of yeast for a large amount of flour. What does this mean in regards to faith and the Christian life?

 

14. Why do you think the disciples did not understand the parable?

 

15. There are times people will not care or listen to you or God. How does this make you feel? What do you do when this happens? What can you do?

 

16. We are not responsible how people respond to our efforts or treat us, we are only responsible to model 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5: 22-23 as well as to trust and obey. How can this statement help you focus on your call and steadfastness to endure even when people do you wrong?

 

17. Have you ever felt like a failure? Do you know that Jesus Christ is still there loving you? How can you have confidence in Him regardless of how life comes your way? Remember, He will allow you to Shine in His time!

 

18. Does God have to break your pride and misplaced priorities? If so what are they and what are you going to do about it? Remember this is serious business!

 

19.  Outline out a plan to put into practice some of the precepts of these parables, 1. A willingness to listen. 2. The ability to practice real authentic faith. 3. Be willing to trust Him regardless of your circumstances. 4. Practice surrendered obedience.

 

20. What will your life look like after 30 days of practicing these precepts?  

 

© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

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